View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Blogger Community Photo Challenge

Mailboxes is the subject of this challenge. Well, this picture dates from 6 August 2006 and shows a house in the village of Laxay, some 12 miles south of Stornoway in the Isle of Lewis (Scotland). The microwave oven on the post is actually the mailbox for 38 Laxay.


I have always found volcanoes intriguing natural phenomena, and my interest was tweaked when an underwater volcano erupted near Tonga in the South Pacific. My attention was already focused there on account of tropical cyclone Ken (now a mid-latitude depression). The link shows an impressive display of ash and steam being ejected from the volcano.


Josef Fritzl, aged 73, was sentenced to life in prison today. He kept his own daughter imprisoned for 24 years, raping her and fathering 7 children by her - one of whom died because Fritzl denied medical help to the child. The man will be held at a secure psychiatric facility, and will be assessed whether he can be treated. If so, he will be transferred to a normal prison and could be eligible for parole in 15 years from now.

The twists and turns of this mind-boggling case have gained high prominence in the media in the past year or so, and the nation of Austria is still to come to terms with the horror of this scenario, enacted by one of its own citizens.

Thursday 19 March 2009

Bright and sunny with hardly a cloud in the sky. Feels like spring, and certainly the birds are behaving in that fashion. The mercury has crept up to 13C / 55F, a value not seen on a sunny day like this so far this year. So, long may it continue.

Hurricane season is drawing towards a close in the southern hemisphere. Tropical cyclone Ilsa is roaring away with winds in excess of 110 mph, about 600 miles from Australia. It is not going near any land as far as the forecasters can tell. Hurricanes are one of Mother Nature's safety valves, and serve to disperse heat from the tropics to higher latitudes through a venting mechanism in the upper atmosphere. The amount of energy involved in your average hurricane would be sufficient to power everyone on planet Earth for a year - 200 times over. Annually, there are about 100 tropical cyclones anywhere on the planet. They can only occur over warm water (80F / 26C or more) with a specific set-up in the atmosphere (winds all blowing at the same speed and in the same direction at all levels) and away from the equator. They only happen in summer - which is why the southern hemisphere is currently having cyclones (= hurricanes). The phenomena are poorly understood, and are highly unpredictable, both in terms of course and intensity.

Hurricane season in the northern hemisphere will resume in two months from now. If you are in an area likely to be affected by these storms, please review your preparations now and make sure everything is in readiness for hurricane season.

I have kept my Tropical Cyclones blog since July 2006, and update it daily - if there are any storms or tropical disturbances to be reported on.